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Jerusalem Church Leaders Speak on Easter

“So, as we celebrate the Resurrection we must be more diligent in searching for the light and in using it to build a better tomorrow for all of us, Palestinians or Israelis, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Druzes.”
This is the voice of the patriarchs and heads of local churches in Jerusalem as they spoke on Easter.
Below is a copy of their Easter message:

* * *

Sisters and brothers here and in all the world, we greet you in the name of our Risen Lord and ask God to fill you with the joy and the strength of the resurrection.

Having opposed early Christians and, indeed, sought to bring many of them to trial for their faith, St. Paul was suddenly challenged by our Blessed Lord as he journeyed to Damascus. Within a short time he became a powerful messenger for Jesus. Reading his various epistles we see he has much to say on many aspects of the Christian faith.

The statement he sets before the Philippians is regarded by many people as the most powerful: "All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings."

In this short sentence he links the cross and the Resurrection. The sufferings he had to face for his faith lead him to become conscious of the power of the Resurrection given to those who truly believe, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Yet again, recent months have shown us much of the hardships and sufferings people have to endure, not least in this land. Much of this burden has arisen from man's inhumanity to men together with the deprivation of basic human dignity and rights, all caused by the siege imposed upon us.

Our Blessed Lord challenges all of us; if we are to be his disciples we must take up our cross and follow him. In the midst of sufferings, we reach for the power of the Resurrection and the power of the Spirit that enables us to take away the oppressions that are imposed upon us.

So, as we celebrate the joy of Easter we must examine carefully where we stand in relation to God. Many of us need to abandon the selfish instinct within us. If we truly seek the power of the Resurrection in our lives, then we must disregard any idea we might have of self-sufficiency or worldly hopes that hide from our eyes the things of heaven and of the Spirit.

If we believe in the Resurrection, we must affirm that our security is with God and in the power of the Resurrection. Again St. Paul reminds us when writing to the Corinthians: "But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Despite our weakness and despite the unjust circumstances imposed upon us, the power of God can free us if we come to understand the logic of the Spirit in us and if we behave accordingly.

On the first Good Friday, the disciples of Jesus doubtlessly felt shattered. However, gradually their faith was restored as they became conscious of their Risen Lord. Their own personal darkness of fear and uncertainty was suddenly illuminated by the light of Jesus' resurrection.

So, as we celebrate the Resurrection we must be more diligent in searching for the light and in using it to build a better tomorrow for all of us, Palestinians or Israelis, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Druzes. We search for the light that comes from God, illuminates all creation, guides every true believer in his search to find God's freedom for all, together with his peace and justice.

As we greet our sisters and brothers across the world, we wish them the joy of Easter and the power of the Risen Lord in their daily lives. While conscious of the care and concern shown by many of you, we again ask for your particular prayers for this land, that God will guide all its governors and show them the path of justice and equality among all.

Pray for the newly formed Unity Government of the Palestinians together with the Israeli Government and the Arab Initiative, to work to remove fear and all oppression, the walls, the barriers and the prisons, so that hearts become full of trust and all can enjoy the same freedom and the same dignity.

Then we would ask that you make a particular effort to encourage your particular nation to stop the embargo imposed upon us and to restore its aid to the Palestinians. Many vital areas of community are in a desperate plight as a result of the withholding of this aid, not least [among them, areas of] justice, economy, medicine and education, etc. …

As all Christians across the world celebrate Easter together we wish everyone, at home and abroad, that joy which our Blessed Lord's resurrection brings. We ask God to bestow upon all the joy and the power of the resurrection so that the words of Jesus become real as he said: "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!
May you experience a happy and holy Easter!

Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem

Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem
Patriarch Michel Sabbah, R.C. Latin
Patriarch Torkom I Manooghian, Armenian Orthodox

Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land
Archbishop Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox
Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian-Orthodox
Archbishop Abouna Mattias, Ethiopian Orthodox

Archbishop Paul Sayyah, Maronite
Bishop Suheil Dawani, Anglican
Bishop Munib Younan, Lutheran

Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian-Catholic
Archbishop Georges Michel Bakar, Greek Catholic
Father Rafael Minassian, Armenian Catholic


 
LIVES OF THE SAINTS

JULY 1
BLESSED JUNIPERO SERRA
Blessed Junipero Serra was born in Petra, Spain, on November 24, 1713. The boy became a student at the Franciscan school in Palma 

JULY 2
ST. OTTO.
St. Otto lived in the twelfth century. He was born in Swabia, present-day Bavaria. 

JULY 3
ST. THOMAS
St. Thomas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. His name in the Syriac language means "twin."

JULY 4
ST. ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL
St. Elizabeth, a Spanish princess, was born in 1271. She married King Denis of Portugal at the age of twelve.

JULY 5
ST. ANTHONY MARY ZACCARIA

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born in Italy in 1502. While he was still young, his father died.

JULY 6
ST. MARIA GORETTI

St. Maria Goretti was born in 1890. Her father died when she and the other five children in her family were small. At twelve, Maria was already very pretty.

JULY 7
BLESSED ROGER DICKENSON, BLESSED RALPH MILNER AND BLESSED LAWRENCE HUMPHREY

These three martyrs lived in England during the time of Church persecution by Queen Elizabeth I.

JULY 8
BLESSED EUGENE III

Blessed Eugene III was born near Pisa, Italy, in the twelfth century. He was baptized Peter.

JULY 10
ST. FELICITY AND HER SEVEN SONS.

St. Felicity was a noble Christian woman of Rome. She lived during the second century.

JULY 11
ST. BENEDICT

St. Benedict was born in 480. He was from a rich Italian family. His life was full of adventure and wonderful deeds.

JULY 12
ST. JOHN GAULBERT

St. John Gaulbert was born in Florence, Italy, at the end of the tenth century. He and his father were devastated when John's only brother, Hugh, was murdered.

JULY 13
ST. HENRY II.

St. Henry II was born in 972. He became the duke of Bavaria in 995. One night he had an unusual vision. St. Wolfgang, who had been his beloved teacher when he was a boy, appeared to him.

JULY 14
BLESSED KATERI TEKAKWITHA

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was born in Auriesville, New York, in 1656. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin. Her father was a non-Christian Mohawk chief.

JULY 15
ST. BONAVENTURE.

St. was born in 1221 in Tuscany, Italy, and was baptized John.

JULY 16
FEAST OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

This feast was instituted by the Carmelites between 1376 and 1386 under the title "Commemoratio B. Marif Virg.

JULY 17
ST. LEO IV.

St. Leo IV lived in the ninth century. He was a Roman by birth and spent his life in that city. Leo was educated in the Benedictine monastery near St. Peter's Basilica.

JULY 18
ST. FREDERICK.

St. Frederick lived in ninth-century Utrecht, in the central part of the Netherlands. When he was ordained a priest, Bishop Ricfried put him in charge of instructing converts.

JULY 19
ST. MACRINA.

St. Macrina was the first child of St. Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia.

JULY 20
SAINT CHARBEL.

St. Charbel was born to a poor Maronite Family on May 8, 1828 in a mountain village of Biqa-Kafra, Lebanon.

JULY 21
ST. LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI.

St. Lawrence was born Caesar Rossi in Brindisi, Italy, in 1559. Brindisi was part of the Kingdom of Naples, Italy.

JULY 22
ST. MARY MAGDALENE.

St. Mary Magdalene was from Magdala near the Sea of Galilee. Some people identify her as a well-known sinner when she first saw Our Lord.

JULY 23
ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN.

St. Bridget was born in Sweden in 1303. From the time she was a child, she was greatly devoted to the passion of Jesus.

JULY 24
ST. BORIS AND ST. GLEB

St. Boris and St. Gleb, the brothers, were born toward the end of the tenth century.

JULY 25
ST. JAMES THE GREATER

St. James was a fisherman like his father Zebedee and his brother John.

JULY 26
ST. JOACHIM AND ST. ANNE

St. Anne and St. Joachim are the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

JULY 27
ST. PANTALEON

St. Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. He lived in the fourth century.

JULY 29
ST. MARTHA

St. Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus.

JULY 30
ST. PETER CHRYSOLOGUS

St. Peter Chrysologus was born in the small town of Imola, Italy.

JULY 31
ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA

St. Ignatius, the famous founder of the Jesuits, was born in 1491.

 
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Tour of the Relics of the Passion
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REFLECTIONS

“Jesus’ Baptism”

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

 
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